Saturday, April 21, 2007

Dealing with the Plague


Many Jewish children born in April can look forward to the Torah portion that deals with leprosy. It defies creativity in terms of thinking of something meaningful to say about it.

The young woman who became a bat mitzvah today at Temple Micah actually taught me a lot about this portion. I hadn’t realized that the thought at the time the Torah was written was that leprosy was inflicted on a person in response to something that person did wrong. The commentary suggests that the real catalyst was GOSSIP!

The Torah portion goes into great detail describing the particular lesions and how they were to be judged pure or impure. Impurity brought with it exile for 7 days, during which the person was supposed to think about his or her sins, and then a recheck by the priests at the end of the isolation period. If a priest got it, his career was over because the priests could only serve as long as they were “without blemish”.

I found myself thinking that if this were true, there might be an epidemic of leprosy in the DC Blogging community right about now after this past week's accusations and counter-accusations. My heart went out to all the victims who have told their stories of hatred and persecution. I know some of these people and wish we could roll back time to when we all basically got along. But it’s not that easy.

Reya and I noted that we Blog using our real names and even include pictures and have never experienced incidents of stalking or negative comments. That probably has a lot to do with how old we are and the subject matter of our Blogs. Who really cares about an aging soon-to-be-retired Bureaucrat or a photographer who finds the wind and the puddles of DC interesting?

But maybe this is a timely reminder to think about what we say about others. Gossip has a nasty way of making and breaking alliances at the same time. Nothing good has ever come of it. But fortunately nothing as bad as leprosy has come of it either.

8 Comments:

Blogger Kristin said...

I have a personal policy about what I write - if I cannot tell my boss, my client or my grandma about it, I shouldn't put it on the internet. They all know about my blog. Even if they didn't, they could find it someday. Better to be safe than sorry. (I, too, blog under my real name.)

8:26 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kristin -- That's a good policy to write by. Unfortunately I would have to pull down quite a few posts if I were to apply it to my Blog...

9:00 PM  
Anonymous David said...

Kristin - great policy. You'll neve "get in trouble" that way. Barbara - soon you'll be able to easily meet Kristin's criteria, no?

9:47 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

David -- You mean when I no longer have a boss, a client, or a grandma? :)

10:32 PM  
Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

To be honest, I love the juicy blogs, but I'm sure it's tricky for those writing about their loves lives, etc. to decide where to draw the line ethically and in terms of what's safe (the world is full of wackos, after all).

Being middle aged really helps in this realm, I think.

The Torah portion sounds gruesome. See? I just don't get a blast of ecstacy from these readings. The Torah is just bizarre to me - powerful, and I do respect it, and yes David you're right I should study in a group. And ... it is weird!

8:33 AM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Think I'm missing something here in that I haven't noticed that many blogs are accusing etc. recently. I do use my real name and yes, I'm too old for most weirdo internet users. I think mine is fairly family friendly and my actual family and most friends never read it unless I send it to them. I like Kristin's policy too.

It will be interesting to see how your post contents change once you're no longer working!

9:48 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Reya -- I gravitate to the juicy blogs too. But some of those people really must maintain their anonymity to survive and when someone outs them, the fun is over for everyone. There's sometimes a price to be paid for driving in the fast lane...

MOI -- There has been a local Blog war going on with people doing awful things to each other to the point where people have even lost their jobs. It's sad that bad things are resulting from something that started out as fun for everyone.

9:59 AM  
Blogger steve said...

beauty is wasted on youth!

5:42 PM  

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